OUT-OF-CONTRACT Melbourne midfielder Jordie McKenzie is committed to the Demons’ cause and wants to push through the hard times alongside his mates.
The Terang Mortlake export was in the south-west this week, making the most of the AFL mid-year break to catch up with friends and family.
McKenzie’s contract with Melbourne ends at the end of the season but the proud Demon, who started his career as a rookie, told The Standard he had plenty more to offer the club.
“They were good enough to give me the opportunity and I want to stay there for as long as they’ll have me,” he said.
“We’ve got a young group that’s going to stick together and I’ve got a lot of good mates down there and supportive coaching staff.
“We’re going through some hard times but we’re all going to come through it together and have some success at the other end hopefully.”
McKenzie has been given four days to recharge for the second half of the AFL season.
The 21-year-old led training sessions for the most junior Bloods at Terang Recreation Reserve on Thursday night, happily signing autographs and posing for photographs afterwards.
“It doesn’t feel like long ago that I was running around here myself,” he said.
“It’s good to be able to come back and give something back to the kids.”
McKenzie grew up two minutes from the recreation reserve before being drafted to Melbourne as the number one pick in the rookie draft, prior to the 2009 season.
Battling through calf and groin troubles, the hard-working midfielder has since earned senior list elevation, notching up 48 games.
The tackle-happy tagger has held his spot from round one this year so knows first hand of Melbourne’s on-field frustration, recording just one win under new coach Mark Neeld.
“It’s been disappointing,” McKenzie said. “We’ve come close a couple of times and ideally we would have won a few more games.
“Hopefully the second half of the year brings some more wins. Everyone is working hard and we’ve got a long way to go but hopefully we can turn it around.”
McKenzie has been trusted with big assignments in the opening 11 rounds, including tagging roles on St Kilda’s Brendan Goddard, Hawthorn’s Sam Mitchell and Collingwood’s Dale Thomas.
“It’s been a good opportunity to play against some of the guns of the competition,” he said. “I’m always learning from those good players.”
With matches against Greater Western Sydney and Brisbane Lions scheduled for the next two rounds, McKenzie is optimistic about snaffling more premiership points.